Excerpt from Belief and Behavior: The Failure of Christianity to Make a Difference

This is a chapter from my new book "Belief and Behavior: The Failure of Christianity to Make a Difference," that I hope to release by December. I am still editing and updating. I've posted this draft chapter here hoping to receive input as to the tack I' taking. Unfortunately, I could only take on the US.

Abortion


The states are not free, under the guise of protecting maternal health or potential life, to intimidate women into continuing pregnancies.—Justice Harry A. Blackmun, Roe v. Wade, 22 January, 1973

Abortion: They Protest Too Much

Incendiary comments by outspoken Evangelical Christian pro-life figureheads portray abortion as an “evil” perpetrated by the non-Christian left. In response, The Center for Reason a private research group, undertook a study to test the premise: “Christians have fewer abortions than non-Christians.” The results absolutely disprove the premise.

Of those receiving abortions in the United States, 70% are Christians. Forty-three percent of women receiving abortion are Protestants and twenty-seven % are Catholics.[i][i] One out of six abortion patients describes herself as born-again or an evangelical Christian. More than one third of born-again adults (33%) say that abortion is a morally acceptable behavior. Those professing no faith make up 22% of abortion patients and are only 16% of the population.[ii][ii]

Abortion certainly splits the United States at the voting box, but research shows that evangelicals are just as likely to seek abortions and that many are two and three time visitors. Many Christians who wind up at an abortion clinic end there precisely because of religion. Rather than face the religious judgment of family and friends, many women opt for the abortion clinic. Ironically, almost a third (30%) of all U.S. abortions takes place in the states of the Old Confederacy, the most religious portion of the country.[iii][iii]

Apparently, life situations, financial considerations or even inconvenience can trump religion when it comes to abortion. As the statistics show, despite the shrillness of the debate, one thing is clear: Christians use abortion services more than any other group in the country.

More Equals Less

The lowest abortion rates in the world—less than 10 per 1,000 women of reproductive age—are in Europe, where abortion is legal and available.[iv][iv] The highest rates of abortion occur in countries that severely restrict abortion like Nigeria, Mexico and Brazil.[v][v] In the United States where religion is strong, abortion is highest compared to other industrialized countries.

Women with one or more children account for nearly 60% of abortions in the United States. In addition, married women obtain seventeen percent of all abortions.[vi][vi] Forty-six percent of women having abortions did not use contraception during the month they became pregnant. This group includes impulse sex,” meaning that person did not expect sexual intercourse. More than four-fifths of pregnancies to teenagers are unintended and account for more than one in five unintended pregnancies nationwide.[vii][vii] Large portions of this number came from religious backgrounds opposed to teaching contraception.[viii][viii]

Less Equals More

Few are aware of abortion’s sordid history in the United States or how social strata often made the difference in who lived and who died. Poor American women and their families were disproportionately affected by the illegality of abortion. In the 1950’s and 1960's, it is estimated that annually 200,000 to 1.2 million women had illegal abortions under unsafe conditions.[ix][ix] Abortion deaths in the United States dropped to 8 a year compared to nearly a thousand in 1950.[x][x] Abortion was a leading cause of maternal mortality in pre-Roe America, and it remains so today in many developing countries in which abortion is illegal. Worldwide, approximately 220,000 children lose their mothers each year because of abortion related deaths.[xi][xi]

In Uganda and the Philippines the desired family size has fallen sharply since the 1980's.[xii][xii] In both countries, modern contraceptive use remains low, leading to high rates of unintended pregnancy. As a result, both countries’ abortion rates have surpassed that of the United States, despite each having strict abortion bans combined with strong religious and cultural traditions condemning the procedure. Abortion was banned in Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Nigeria and Peru, but illegal abortion and self-induced abortion in these countries often end depriving living children of their mothers.[xiii][xiii]

Seventy-seven percent of anti-abortion leaders are men. 100% of them will never be pregnant.—Planned Parenthood advertisement



Abortion

[i][i] The Landscape of Abortion, http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=Topic&TopicID=2

[ii][ii] The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2008 & Women Who Have Abortions, National Abortion Federation

[iii][iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007

[iv][iv] An Overview of Abortion in the United States, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) and the Guttmacher Institute, January 2008

[iv][iv] An Overview of Abortion in the United States, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) and the Guttmacher Institute, January 2008

[v][v] Boonstra, 2006

[vi][vi]The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2008 & Women Who Have Abortions, National Abortion Federation

[vii][vii] An Overview of Abortion in the United States, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) and the Guttmacher Institute, January 2008

[vii][vii] An Overview of Abortion in the United States, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health (PRCH) and the Guttmacher Institute, January 2008

[viii][viii] Abortion Recovery International, Abortion Facts - United States, March 31, 2005[viii][viii] Abortion Recovery International, Abortion Facts - United States, March 31, 2005

[ix][ix] Tietze C and Lewit S, 1969, op. cit. (see reference 11).

[x][x] Bartlett et al., 2004 (1988–1997 data)

[xi][xi] Singh, 2006; WHO 2007; Grimes 2006

[xii][xii] Guttmacher Institute, Improving reproductive health in the Philippines, Research In Brief, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2003, No. 1; Singh S et al., The incidence of abortion in Uganda, International Family Planning Perspectives, 2005, 31(4):183–191; and Singh S et al., Estimating the level of abortion in the Philippines and Bangladesh, International Family Planning Perspectives, 1997, 23(3):100–107.

[xiii][xiii] David T, Sacred Work: Planned Parenthood and Its Clergy Alliances, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005, pp. 129–130 and Strauss LT et al., Abortion surveillance—United States, 2001, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summaries, 2004, 53(SS09): 1–32.

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Tags: abortion, christianity, fails, hypocrisy, truth

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